With as many as 15 motorcycles on sale in the 200-250cc segment, it has become increasingly difficult for manufacturers to stand out from the crowd. But not for the Husqvarna Svartpilen and Vitpilen, for everything about them screams unique. From the circular headlamps and uniquely shaped fuel tank to the minimalistic tail-section, every aspect of their design is outlandish and quite remarkable. The Huskies, however, are clearly a case of favouring form over function. Neither of the two motorcycles scores well in terms of practicality, given their compact dimensions and short seat length – there just isn’t enough space for a pillion to sit comfortably. The café-racer-styled Vitpilen, with its low-set clip-on handlebar, is a bit too aggressive to be comfortable. In comparison, however, the Scrambler-styled Svartpilen’s upright riding stance does give it a minor edge over its twin.
The true trump card of the Husqvarnas, however, is the 249cc single-cylinder engine, which they share with the KTM 250 Duke. Here’s a quarter-litre offering that is a staggering two seconds faster than the KTM 390 Adventure. If these facts are still not reassuring enough for you, here’s a figure for you to consider – the Husqvarna Vitpilen is only about half-a-second slower than the Honda Africa Twin, which makes more than thrice the power.
While both bikes are fast, the speed itself can be felt, as vibrations come through the handlebar, footpegs, and even the seat. Just like the KTM, the Husqvarnas are clearly not as refined as some other motorcycles in their class. On the plus side, their rev-happy nature does make them tremendously fun to ride. The zippy motor is well complemented by the stiff suspension setup and the lightweight body, which makes sure that both Huskies handle incredibly well on the track. They do feel a bit harsh in the city though.
From incredible performance and nimble handling to a head-turning design, the Husqvarna twins have a bunch of things working in their favour. But they aren’t the most practical and easy-to-live-with motorcycles out there. Had that not been the case, one of the two (read: Svartpilen, since it’s the more comfortable of the two) would have made it into the top three.